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Greece New Fin Min Venizelos: Restore Tax Injustice

Greece newly appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos gave the marks of his economic policy Friday afternoon and said that “fist priority is the sustainability of public Debt”. Speaking at the ceremony of handing over the Defense ministry to his successor, former Fin Min George Papaconstantinou, Venizelos said “I leave the defense and go to real war”.

Evangelos Venizelos tried to give a more political than economic touch to his speech and refrained from mentioning the No-No-No word “Memorandum”. He spoke of social and political consensus and injustices that have to be restored. And asked the cooperation of the society and the political forces of the country.

“The country must be saved and will be saved, it must regain its economic sovereignty and its national sovereignty” said Venizelos and added that  he will do “everything so that we can breath again”.

He stressed that he takes his new post having in mind every jobless and every pensioner. “My target is to restore the injustices,” he stressed. 

He even made a reference to “Indignant” Greeks walking about dialogue however without abandoning the country’s objectives. He said he is open to dialogue, to new ideas and noted “the need of engagement and mobilization of all the productive forces, of all Greek men and women.”

Greek media refer also to recent statements of Venizelos according to which he had expressed different view on the country’s economic policy. And not only! The former Professor for Constitutional Law said in an interview to a Greek newspaper last Sunday, that 180 votes would be needed for the Mid-Term Austerity Package to pass the Parliament.

An economic website reported:

In an interview with the newspaper “To Vima”, he admitted that he had stated during a cabinet meeting that the government should follow a development and investment policy, promoted by simple and easy interventions, such as reducing corporate taxes and facilitate construction activity. 

Sources note that a few months ago, he had asked for a new “memorandum”, stressing his concern about the financial state of the country and the need for a new plan, based on the new situation after the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding. (source: Capital.gr)

Will Venizelos manage to prepare a more fair taxation system?  Will the Troika let him do so? His first crash-test with Greece’s lenders will be on Sunday, June 19, in Luxembourg at the Eurogroup meeting.

The keys to a more successful economic policy are measures for development and growth and the capture of the big-scale tax evaders… Should  the ambitious politician succeed, then the way will be open for him to challenge again George Papandreou for the party leadership.

During the fairwell-welcome ceremony, George Papaconstantinou said that “he feels proud” of the work of the last 20 months in the ministry, adding that the country stood up and escaped bankruptcy. He admitted however that “mistakes were made, there were omissions, or delays”. He is the new Minister for Environment, Energy & Climate Change.

Read also our KTG Article: Venizelos: New Fin Min to talk “politics” with Greece’s lenders

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2 comments

  1. “Will Venizelos manage to prepare a more fair taxation system? Will the Troika let him do so?”
    Yes, they will let him if he comes with a solution to this overriding problem, so nicely described in the Kathimerini by an Greek-Canadian who came to work here as an accountant:
    “…the fact that most of the tax officers were corrupt which means that normal business practices could not be applied: such as audit, verification, examination and so on. Every single tax problem (i.e. tax evasion) had a price, you pay the officer and get off the hook. The tax department was like a state within a state.”

    That’s the centre of the problem. Everybody who earns money and who wants to do that honestly is getting ‘murdered’ by them. That’s the whole reason why the government could introduce this criminal ‘closure’ deal last year. In a normal country you would, if you paid your taxes and had your books in order, gladly get audited. I have experienced those and of course there were some minor points, like always. But no fines, just corrections to be made in the way of bookkeeping. Recalculations didn’t even give a higher tax amount.
    But here, every honest person dreads the day of a tax audit. Because you will have to pay fakili like you never did before or go bust. It’s as simple as that.
    Do you know that all good accountants make sure that a company always shows at least a small profit and NEVER a loss? Why? Well, that’s one of the triggers to get an audit!
    So, Mr. Venizelos, be bold break down that tax monster and rebuild it from scratch. It will give us a fairer Greece and imagine what signal that will be to the outside world?! And when he has done that, I will personally lead the drive to get the money together to get that man a statue of at least 12 meters high. And that is without a horse!!!

  2. “My target is to restore the injustices,” he stressed. (Slip of tongue or incorrect translation?)

    I believe that. As I read it, he wants to reduce taxes on those most able to pay– the corporations– just like US Republicans. Unfortunately, the “real war” I think he is going to wage is against the Greek people.